I can never fully decide what to make of Billy Davies. I can fully understand why a lot of other team's supporters don't like the combative Scotsman; especially Preston fans who argue that Billy can only ever be a mid table Championship manager with pretensions of grandeur. On the other hand i think Derby fans blame Billy for being the record holding worst team in Premier League history, he was partly responsible in that he made some bad signings (£3m for Claude Davis stands out) but he was only given 14 games and actually earned more points in that period than Paul Jewell managed in the other 24. It is also acknowledge that most people, including Davies didn't believe Derby were ready for promotion to the Premiership and so he, and they, became a victim of his own success.
I have some serious issues with him as a tactician; too often he sticks with favourite players even once they're past their best (McKenna) and sticks with formations and plans that aren't working for far too long (the first leg against Swansea), mistakes which have cost us before and could cost us again.
He also annoys me with some of his press relations, coming across as a real miserable guy, always winging and carrying out squabbles in public which could easily be dealt with behind closed doors.
However i will also say that he definitely deserves another 6 months, perhaps a full season, at Forest. Considering the position we were in when he took over from Colin Calderwood and the kind of football we'd got used to under him, Megson and Kinnear, he deserves praise and respect for where we are now. We were in the relegation zone and looking fairly unlikely to escape when Davies took over and not only did he keep us in the Championship but has followed that with two seasons of drama and excitement as we fought for promotion to the Premiership. Considering i spent 3 years as a season ticket holder in League One i'm not going to be complaining too much about losing in the Championship Play Offs to good Blackpool and Swansea teams.
As far as our prospects for next season are concerned, a lot will hinge on the degree to which we are able to strengthen over the summer. We need a permanent left back, It's now 3 seasons since we've had a consistent, permanent left back and it's getting ridiculous. We can't keep relying on loan signings (Shorey, Bertrand or Konchesky) or playing players out of position (Cohen, Gunter and Lynch) and for a lot of Forest fans the acquisition of a left back will be considered one of the markers for our intentions for next year. We need to get a consistent goal scorer in as well; McGugan finished the season as our top scorer and despite his hero status Earnshaw simply isn't reliable or sharp enough any more to be our big hope in attack, 9 goals from your talisman of a striker simply isn't good enough. Boyd could be the answer but only if Davies can get him fully fit (a strength of Davies', you only have to look at the transformation, both physical and attitude wise, that McGugan has gone through to see his influence) and we sign a good, natural left winger to provide accurate crosses.
A left back, a left winger and a striker are the bare minimum we need, but i'd also like to see a central defensive midfielder to replace McKenna who really shouldn't play any more and Moussi is great on his day but too injury prone to rely on in my opinion. A second additional striker wouldn't hurt as i really don't rate the majority of the strikers we have currently as good enough for a promotion push next year and definitely not up to Premiership standard, Findley may prove to be good enough but have no way of knowing yet.
I hope Davies stays but it wouldn't surprise me if he left, or if he was at least partly to blame for his own departure after annoying the board once too often.
My ideal/dream/naive first team for next year would be this, in a diamond kind of formation:
DCM: Greening (We've been linked with him a lot and at Championship level he'd be very solid)
LM: Treacy (Looked very good for Preston this year)
Today's song is one i'd forgotten how much i liked until i listened to the album again during a train journey (one of my main times for re-discovering albums).